The SCOLA Symposium: An Introduction

Welcome to The SCOLA Symposium! Since you have found our blog you probably already know what we do here at SCOLA, but to those of you that do not, I will use this first post to introduce ourselves.

In 1981, Lee Lubbers, S.J.,  established SCOLA as a foreign language cable television system on the campus of Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. The system delivered popular television stations of the time along with programs from Canada, Mexico, and the USSR. SCOLA was the first international cable system of its time in the United States, and one of the first cable systems. It became a model other academic institutions looked up to.

In 1990 SCOLA began Out-Write Service, which featured transcripts from the first five minutes of selected newscasts in its original language and English. The transcripts included key words, vocabulary lists, and quizzes for SCOLA affiliated teachers to use as classroom activities. The Out-Write Service is now known as Insta-Class.  The feature started with French, Japanese, Russian, and German and now holds over 50 languages!

With SCOLA’s growth came the need for a different location, so in 1993 SCOLA relocated to a 13-acre property in McClelland, Iowa. Twenty years later, SCOLA remains in McClelland, which is a twenty minute drive from downtown Omaha.

SCOLA continued to grow and gained an online presence  in  2006 when all SCOLA programming became available via the internet and the interactive and informative website, http://www.scola.org, was launched. Today, the website  has ten interactive resources and tools, utilized by language learners around the world.

World TV Online is SCOLA’s international television programming featuring eight geographically designated channels accessible 24/365. It streams news, talk, drama, children’s and music programming exactly as people see it in their own countries. All of the programs are available to SCOLA subscribers for downloading and live streaming.

People and Places is an ever-growing, original snapshot gallery of SCOLA friends from around the world and the places they live. There are currently over 27,000 vibrant pictures to browse, download and display for any educational purpose.

International Radio holds exotic radio broadcasts featuring SCOLA Exclusives: Afghan Women’s Radio and rare Mayan dialects. Subscribers can also listen to seldom heard news and talk shows, music and more in over 40 languages.

Learning Objects are SCOLA’s interactive, self-contained language lessons geared toward independent study. The lessons provide instructive assessment and feedback from a sociocultural perspective.

On the Street Videos contain compelling videos from around the world produced exclusively for SCOLA. The videos are designed to present the native language as it is spoken informally among friends and neighbors. Family and cultural celebrations, weddings and wedding toasts, sports, parades and interviews on intriguing topics are examples of what you can find in the videos.

Language Training Materials are unique travelogue-style videos from every corner of the globe produced exclusively for SCOLA and narrated by native speakers. Introductory level language lessons and other activities featuring text, videos, quizzes and vocabulary lists are also available.

Specialized Word Video Search holds a searchable collection of over 150,000 specialized native language words. Users are able to view a native language video clip containing the words, listen to an audible pronunciation and hear the words spoken in context.

Foreign Text is a global newsstand of newspapers, magazines and books. The resource includes unabridged publications that present news, sports, entertainment, political commentary and more. Foreign Text features OCR technology.

Video Editor allows users to easily create smaller clips of SCOLA videos for downloading and we understand that not all of the information in each video is applicable to your needs. Our videos, including full length news broadcasts, entertainment programming and talk shows, contain a lot of information! Video Editor can be accessed from each SCOLA service that contains videos.

All SCOLA services are now available through Mobile Apps.

These resources guide SCOLA in fulfilling our mission:

“To to help the people of the world learn about one another; their cultures, their languages and their ideologies. SCOLA emphasizes the importance and effectiveness of modern information technology as a tool in overcoming barriers to global understanding and will remain at the forefront of its application.”

In the coming weeks we are looking forward to unveiling our new website, hosting our annual Users Meeting, and launching new resources and programs for our subscribers to enjoy.

The SCOLA blog will be updated weekly to keep you informed about SCOLA resources and events and current news we think will be beneficial for language learners. If you would like more frequent SCOLA updates we are available on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn. These websites will also have information about the SCOLA Country of the Month! Moroccan recipes, photos, and other fun facts will be shared in the month of May.

You can also subscribe to our monthly newsletter by e-mailing lduhacek@scola.org.

SCOLA values your feedback, so please feel free to create discussions relevant to the posts in the comment section below.

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